Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some updates on life in Kuji

I've lived in Japan for over a month now. (Time flies when you're having fun!) Here are some updates on...

Feeling like a resident -- Last week, I went grocery shopping and took my list with me, which included bread, eggs, and milk...and bananas. The staples. (Yes, bananas are definitely a staple as far as I'm concerned.) While I was wandering the store -- which I'm now pretty familiar with -- I ran into the vice mayor, my "Beatles buddy!" I talked to him for a few minutes. Later, as I was reaching out for some eggs, I was taken by surprise when I heard, "Dana Sensei!" (I jumped and almost created scrambled eggs on the floor. No "yoke"ing!) It was one of my students from Okawame. We had a conversation that consisted of, "Hi! How are you? I'm fine thank you, and you? Fine, thanks." I couldn't help but think, "I have arrived. I'm at the grocery store with my list, seeing people I know and chatting with them. Feels like I'm an official citizen of Kuji!"

My relationship with B.J. (Billy Joel) -- We're taking a break. We were spending too much time together. I'm hearing from (but not seeing) other singers now, so I've moved on. But I'm sure that I'll still be hearing from him occasionally since we're still friends. ;) (Seriously, thanks for sending some cassettes so I have a variety of music to listen to! You know who you are.)

The squid -- I put off cooking the squid I received as a gift from one of the teachers at Misaki. (I wasn't sure how to prepare it, and I also was a little bit grossed out by the thought of touching it.) But I finally boiled it and ate it. Well, I ate a few bites of it, anyway. The slimy creature stunk up my apartment, and I think it was the stench combined with the weird texture, as well as thinking too much about what I was actually eating that initiated my gag reflex. I didn't mind the fried squid rings I had for lunch a couple of weeks ago. But they looked like onion rings! So I have a new rule with regards to food in Japan: Stay away from things that look like they could have been swimming just a few minutes ago! (like the squid) I just can't handle seeing my food staring back at me!

Another different food experince -- I finally had yakiniku, which is considered Japanese BBQ. I had heard of it, and am glad I finally got to try it. It's a style of cooking where you grill your own bite-sized pieces of meat at the table. Below are are a couple of pictures from dinner. A group of us ALTs -- plus Kenji, the super nice Japanese man who likes to help ALTs -- went to celebrate Oliver's birthday.

The whole group. You can see the grill at the right, where we cooked the meat and the small bowls of dipping sauces.

Just the ladies. From left to right: Jemma, Liz, Mayla, yours truly

The movement of the earth -- I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I didn't get to experience the earthquake in Indiana last spring. (I was fast asleep.) It's not that I want to be in a disasterous earthquake, I just felt like it was a moment in history that I missed out on. Well, on Thursday I was at Mugyo, and my desk started shaking a little. Everyone's desk was shaking. It didn't last long and it wasn't anything major. But now I can say I've experienced an earthquake. And I'm satisfied. :)

What I did today -- This morning I volunteered at a preschool down the street with Jemma and Liz. It was so much fun! I'm going one Saturday a month to play with the cute little kids. After our time at preschool, the three of us went to a judo tournament that our students were participating in. It was neat to watch, and I'm glad I could be there to support some of my students. Here are some pictures. (They're small because one of the teachers from Misaki e-mailed them to me this small.)

So those are some updates on what's been going on with me. Please update me about what you've been doing! I'd love to hear from you. You can always e-mail me at


Anonymous said...

Looks like you are having a blast. You are very brave for trying the squid. I probably would have at least tried it to even though I know I would not like it! Well have a good day!
Love ya!
Ps: I like your outfit in the picture!!!

Dawn said...

You are welcome for the cassettes. And I think you are both brave and insane for trying the squid.

Chrisodeo said...

I know the feeling about not wanting to eat something that could have been swimming moments ago. Ask Dawn, I can't even eat breaded shrimp! The yakiniku sounds like something I'd like to try though; is it anything like Benihana's?

There is one thing I'd absolutely have to try if I visited Japan. I think it's called Kobe beef. Apparently it's from a certain type of cattle that's only raised on a specific island. That's probably why it's outrageously expensive, heh.

As you can probably tell, food is something I hold in high regard. :)